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Anti Federalists Vs. Federalists

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Anti Federalist vs. Federalists started after the Revolutionary war and the Americans had to figure out a way to get themselves out of economic depression because the war was costly and left many colonies in debt. Anti-federalists were those who opposed the development of a strong federal government and the Constitution in 1788, instead for power to remain in the hands of state and local governments. Federalists wanted a stronger national government and the ratification of the Constitution to help properly manage the debt and tensions following the American Revolution.

People who supported the Anti-Federalist were people who lived in rural areas and had local power. People who supported the Federalist were rich people who lived in large rural areas. Basically middle class people supported the Anti-Federalist and rich people with businesses favored the Federalist. That is kind of similar to our current fight between power of government, for example Democrats vs. Republicans, Democrats favored people who are in the middle class and lower and Republicans favored people who are in the high class who are wealthy.

The Anti-Federalist wanted to be like free agents they wanted to spend and manage their own money as they saw fit. They believed that no one should control the way they spend and control their money the Federalist were people who wanted the opposite. The debt and tension in Massachusetts known as the Shay’s Rebellion was a perfect example of why the U.S had the desire to concentrate on federal power. Before the constitution there were the Articles of Confederation, a 13 article agreement between 13 founding states that covered issues of the state sovereignty.

The Articles of Confederation were mainly about the equal treatment of citizens, congressional development and delegation, international diplomacy, armed forces, fund raising, lawmaking, the relationship between the US and Canada and war debt. The problem with The Articles of Confederation was it was a very weak agreement on which to base a nation that the document never once referred to the United States of America. With The Articles of Confederation, congress became a form of Federal government, but it was weak by the fact that it could not fund any of the resolutions it passed. For example while people can print money, there was no solid regulation of the money, which led to a fast and deep depreciation. Though congress asked for millions of dollars in the 1780’s, they received less than 1.5 million over the course of three years, from 1781 to 1784. This inefficient and ineffective governance led to economic woes and eventual, if small scale, rebellion.

As George Washington’s chief of staff, Alexander Hamilton saw firsthand that the problems caused by a weak federal government particularly those which stemmed from a lack of centralized fiscal and monetary policies. With Washington’s approval, Hamilton assembled a group of nationalists at the 1786 Annapolis Convention also known as the Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government. Here, delegates from several states wrote a report on the conditions of the federal government and how it needed to be expanded if it was to survive its domestic turmoil and international threats as a sovereign nation. After the Articles of Confederation cam the Constitution in 1788 where the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation, greatly expands the powers of the federal government. With their only being 27 Amendments, the US Constitution remains a supreme law of the United States allowing it to define, protect, and tax its citizens. Federalist who were the main supporters of the Constitution; they were aided by federalist sentiment that had gained traction across many factions, uniting political figures. The Anti-Federalist, who was leaded by Thomas Jefferson, fought against the Constitutions ratification, mainly the amendments which gave the federal government fiscal and monetary powers. The fight between the two groups the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist resulted in the upcoming of the Federalist papers and the Anti-Federalist papers, it was a series of handwritten essays from various figures for against the ratification of the Constitution and the protection of the Constitution. Among the Anti-Federalist were Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Jefferson was the leader among the Anti-Federalist and other prominent Anti-Federalist included Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee. For the Federalist side they had Alexander Hamilton a former chief of staff to George Washington, he was a proponent of a strong federal government and founded the Federalist Party. He helped oversee the development of a national bank and a taxation system. Other famous Federalist was John Adams and John Jay.

There were also three kinds of Anti-Federalist, the first kind represented by politicians such as Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut. The second kind of Anti-Federalist were the people who were not privy (a person having a part or interest in any action, matter, or thing) to the debate in Philadelphia, and has some concerns about the potentiality (the ability to develop or come into existence) of the Constitution to lead to the concentration of power in the new government.

Third and final groups of Anti- Federalist were those who want as little deviation from the articles of confederation as possible and saw that partly national and partly federal compromise as totally unsustainable. Basically Anti-Federalist wanted a weak federal government that would not threaten state rights and wanted the Bill of Rights to declare and protect the rights of the people. During the Ratification the Federalists promise an addition of a Bill of Rights. The ratification succeeded and the new government was formed in 1789. James Madison was a Federalist or Democratic Republic who drafted the 10 amendments to the Constitution and these become the U.S Bill of Rights. Once again the Federalists believed that establishing a large national government was not only possible, but necessary to create a more perfect union by improving the relationship among the states. The Federalist also wanted to preserve the sovereignty and structure of the states, but to do so they advocated for a federal government with delegated powers. Anything not delegated to the Federal government would be reserved to the people and the states. Their goal was to preserve the principle of government by consent, by building a government upon foundation of popular sovereignty, without sacrificing the sovereignty of the states. Present day it appears that the government established by the Constitution is an improvement from that which was established by the Articles of Confederation.

Reading and writing about the confrontation between Federalist and Anti-Federalist I would have chosen the side of Federalist and I will explain why. Me Anti-Federalist were people who were scared of a strong government because they did not want the government to control their lives and wanted a little bit more freedom. Yes, people need their freedom but what they need more is to be secured and free from debt. The problem there was a economic struggle and people were in debt because of the war with Federalist we can have people manage the finances and economy. The Anti-Federalist sounded spoiled because they felt that the states were free agents that should manage their own revenue and spend their money as they saw fit. Many people back then probably were not well informed about their finances and might have spent money that they could not afford to get back. To be on the safer side a professional should be the one to see what a person is allowed to spend without getting themselves into debt. At the same time Anti-Federalist have a point because they should not have too much power to the point where they can deny a person from purchasing a item.

Anti-Federalist sounds like it is the freedom fighter group for the people and they are a group who opposes to strong of a government but people should know to much freedom can cause many problems. The positive side of Federalism is the protection against tyranny, is dividing the power between the national government and state governments and spreading the national government’s power among three branches that serve as a check and balance on each other. The protections we have in our system against a tyrannical, runaway government are one of the most important points to why the system was designed the way it was. Increasing citizen participation is by not centralizing all power into the hands of a national government, but sharing that power with state governments, which are closer to the level of the common citizen; our founders actually increased a citizen’s ability to effect their government.

Finally one more positive point is conflict management, by allowing different communities and states to create their own practices, they allow for people with differences or very strong disagreements, to live in separate areas, and create their own solutions, or policies, that would be totally disagreeable to the other people in other states or regions of the country.


1. Anti-Federalist vs Federalist. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2017, from

2. Federalists Vs. Anti-Federalists. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2017, from Vs. Anti-Federalists

3. Bardes, B. A., Shelley, M. C., & Schmidt, S. W. (2018). American government and politics today: the essentials. Boston: Cengage Learning.

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